This book is: reminiscent of several other books that are better.
Other elements: ghosts, serial killers, Egyptian mythology.
Read it: if you like quiet books with overtones of crime and the supernatural.
Overall rating: 5/10
I read 10 other books between starting and finishing Delia’s Shadow. That should tell you something about this book’s ability to hold my attention. It’s certainly not terrible; I’ve read worse. But there isn’t much to recommend it, either.
Our heroine, Delia, sees ghosts. One in particular is haunting her and she doesn’t know why. At the urging of the ghost, she moves back to her hometown of San Fransisco and becomes involved in a murder investigation that the spirit trailing her seems to be particularly invested in. The serial killer plot is rather reminiscent of The Diviners: one unseen killer murdering in a dramatic way and leaving mysterious symbols behind.
This book is entirely lacking in urgency. Part of the death of tension is, I think, due to the fact that nothing is ever implied. When the characters have a thought or a feeling, they say so. They are also all prone to fully explaining what they mean at all times. Which is usually unnecessary, because they also all tend to be rather predictable. The pretty, reformed-flirt of a society girl ends up in danger because she does something silly for vain reasons. The mousey-but-smart best friend falls for the man she’s supposed to fall for, who succeeds at the thing he’s supposed to succeed at just in time. Along the way, we meet a sexually adventurous alcoholic medium who also assists the murder investigation (using powers similar to those Evie uses for the same reason in The Diviners) and see a lot of people be taken care of by the pretty society girl’s wise cookie-baking minority housekeeper-who-is-like-family. The emotional climax of the book is exactly what I would have expected it to be and it went how I would have expected it to go.
Every time the characters realized something, I had already figured it out – and always in a “well, obviously” way, rather than “aha, I wondered if that might be it!”. A crime novel/ghost story that never manages to be mysterious, surprising, shocking, original, or creepy isn’t succeeding at any genre.
My thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing me with a copy of this book for review.